Catherine W. Idzerda" />

Plenty to do at the Walworth County Fair, despite rain

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Sunday, September 4, 2011
— On Saturday, it rained buckets in Elkhorn.

It rained on the corn dogs.

It rained on the cattle.

It rained on everyone and everything relentlessly, as though it had a score to settle with dry pavement everywhere.

Which leads us to an important question: What can you do at the Walworth County Fair when it’s ruthlessly raining?

n Visit the indoor exhibits, but don’t be demoralized by the cabbages.

The exhibits in the open class categories are a tribute to ordinary people’s imagination and skills. For example:

In the “Thinking Green” floral display category, which required exhibitors to reuse an item, one exhibitor created a vase out of a crumbled Fritos bag.

It was filled with cosmos, zinnias, snapdragons and black-eyed Susans. Who knew a chip bag could be so beautiful?

In the “Flea Market” floral display category, an exhibitor used sedum flowers to make a stuffed bear.

Unless you’re a gardener, a sedum bear won’t mean much to you—but everyone can understand a beautiful cabbage.

In the “Garden Display” category, exhibitors were required to fill a box with nothing but produce from their gardens. Squash, melons, potatoes, beets, cabbages, onions, tomatoes and beans make surprisingly beautiful art.

In one box, a purple cabbage, stripped of its ugly outer leaves, sat majestically amidst its vegetable brethren, reminding me of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting and cole slaw.

Such displays could be demoralizing for gardeners, but they should try not to let the giant, perfectly formed white onions or the elegant green beans get them down.

Also, don’t miss the 85 quilts in the open class category. Both the artistry and the handiwork are superb.

n Experience bubbler history. Upstairs in the treasurer’s office is a piece of water fountain history. A bathtub-like sink is home to a white porcelain object about the size of a baseball, with holes in the top. A turn of the handle will give you a fountain of water.

How old is it?

Dick Ladwig, retired sheriff’s deputy who is providing security for the treasurer’s office, said it had been there his whole life.

He’s 76.

If Ladwig’s not busy, stop for a chat. He’s both a good talker and a good listener—something rarer than a “best of show” ribbon.

n Do your own judging.

Sure, those animal judges have standards for the perfect animals. But have they taken personality into account?

For example, the belted Galloway in the cattle barn had a sweet face and reminded me of an Oreo cookie. I mentally awarded it first place in the “Beef-Cookie Connection” category.

The Scottish Highland cattle, with their big horns and long coats, won the “Gee, Your Hair Probably Smells Terrific (but I’d rather not get close enough to smell it)” category.

In the small animal barn, I awarded a lovely mini rex rabbit, Leo, the “Rabbit with a Hind End that Resembles a Rorschach Test” prize.

Next to him, another beauty, Roxie, won the “Most Likely to Jump in her Water Dish When Interviewed by the Media.”

n And whatever you do, don’t go home until your socks are saturated and your shoes are damp. That means there’s still more to see.

Last updated: 6:35 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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